Posted by: sweeneyblog | October 11, 2013

Friday Odds and Ends: Strikers, Hackers and Hollywood

Hello Loyal Readers,

One week till ballots! You can practically feel the tension in the air as the final barrage of attacks, mailers, radio ads, television ads, smear campaigns and vehement denials begins. Next week, I will be rolling out my official Voters Guide with my picks this year – and there might be a few that will surprise you. There is at least one race I’ve changed my mind about since the primary.

But enough vague teasers, let’s get on with the Odds and Ends.

Today is the last day of bargaining for the people who bag your groceries. Grocery workers (members of UFCW 21) have been in bargaining since March 2013 with Albertson’s, Fred Meyer, Safeway and QFC. Members say the latest contract proposal cuts healthcare for thousands of employees, reduces holiday pay, removes guarantees above minimum wage and freezes the lowest worker salaries.

Although the bargaining applies to workers in King, Snohomish, Kitsap and Pierce counties, workers in Whatcom and Skagit counties will face the same cuts next year. If the workers and management cannot come to a fair compromise, there will be a strike. Stay tuned for more details.

Kathy Kershner and Michelle Luke freak out over hollywood liberals

Click to Read Luke and Kershner’s Hollywood Scare

A  prestigious cybersecurity education network – one of only four funded by the National Science Foundation – has named Whatcom Community College as its lead institution. CyberWatch West is a regional network of colleges, businesses, and government agencies focused on building and maintaining a robust cybersecurity workforce in the western United States. It is fantastic news to see this sort of focus on our cyberinfrastructure and to have our local school taking a leading role. Incredible.

Finally, I had the pleasure of attending the League of Women Voters forum for County Council candidates last night. Before the event even began, Kathy Kershner and Michelle Luke were freaking out about a film crew attending the event. This film crew is doing a documentary on the coal fight, but both Luke and Kershner took to facebook to rail against Hollywood liberals meddling in our affairs. Remember, this forum was already going to be filmed by BTV10, attended by the entire editorial board of the Bellingham Herald and written about in the Cascadia Weekly. But you add one camera from California and these two needed a fainting couch. Disappointing.

That’s all for today. I’m still working on that article about I-522, I should have it done this weekend depending on how long pumpkin carving takes.

Pumpkin Carving

Yes, that’s me under there



  1. Thanks, Riley. Great news re: WCC becoming a lead on the cybersecurity education program.

    Re: your Yes on I-522 article, if you have not already, you could review these sources. Please see that a Dr. Joseph Mercola, who does not even live in our area, through his website that offers natural wellness and nutrition information and sells wellness products, has pledged up to $50,000 for a Yes on I-522 to labeling food for GMOs –
    Dr. Mercola supported the narrowly defeated GMO labeling initiative in CA also with a much larger donation to try to educate people re: potentially harmful effects of GMO food. Monsanto spent $15 or $20 million dollars to advertise to defeat the CA GMO labeling proposition.
    More info on GMOs here:
    Also, the Organic Consumers Assoc. has info –

    Many countries have banned GMOs and Monsanto entirely. The U.S. should follow suit. No wonder our “healthcare” (mostly not about wellness and prevention but just treating sickness) and insurance costs are out of control in the U.S.. Manufactured processed foods full of additives, chemicals, steroids, and almost devoid of nutrients are a huge problem. We need to know what is in our food. Yes on I-522.

    • There will be a showing of “Genetic Roulette” at the downtown library basement on 10/18 at 7:30 pm, sponsored by Occupy Bellingham.

  2. Meddle? They are documenting what’s happening, but i’m sure they won’t roll out a finished product before the ballots come out next week.

  3. And yet, they’re not returning the BNSF/GPT money?

  4. Thanks for your great updates Riley. I watched the BTV10 stream and missed the drama of filmakers likely to get closeups of those actually making decisions about coal trains. How did it play out? I can’t imagine that the League would not allow them to stay and film at a public meeting.

    • The film crew was very respectively in the far corner of the room – they were indistinguishable from the other camera people there.

  5. “California millionaires?” Good lord. Why would they care if someone is quietly filming a documentary about the elections? It in no way impacts any of the candidates or the outcome.

    What does impact the elections? Money from multi-national coal interests being laundered through the Republican party and into the campaigns of Luke, Kershner, Elenbaas and Knutzen. That’s what can impact these elections.

    Coal money seeking to influence a local election is worth our outrage.

  6. List of donors to anti-522 fund:

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